July 10, 2011
Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
FIRST READING: Isaiah 55:10-13
10“Rain and snow fall from the sky.
But they don’t return without watering the earth
that produces seeds to plant and grain to eat.
11That’s how it is with my words.
They don’t return to me without doing everything
I send them to do.”
12When you are set free, you will celebrate
and travel home in peace.
Mountains and hills will sing as you pass by,
and trees will clap.
13Cypress and myrtle trees will grow in fields
once covered by thorns.
And then those trees will stand as a lasting witness
to the glory of the LORD.
PSALMODY: Psalm 65:[1-8] 9-13
[ 1Our God, you deserve praise in Zion,
where we keep our promises to you.
2Everyone will come to you because you answer prayer.
3Our terrible sins get us down, but you forgive us.
4You bless your chosen ones, and you invite them
to live near you in your temple.
We will enjoy your house, the sacred temple.
5Our God, you save us, and your fearsome deeds
answer our prayers for justice!
You give hope to people everywhere on earth,
even those across the sea.
6You are strong,
and your mighty power put the mountains in place.
7You silence the roaring waves
and the noisy shouts of the nations.
8People far away marvel at your fearsome deeds,
and all who live under the sun
celebrate and sing because of you.]
9You take care of the earth and send rain
to help the soil grow all kinds of crops.
Your rivers never run dry,
and you prepare the earth to produce much grain.
10You water all of its fields and level the lumpy ground.
You send showers of rain to soften the soil
and help the plants sprout.
11Wherever your footsteps touch the earth,
a rich harvest is gathered.
12Desert pastures blossom, and mountains celebrate.
13Meadows are filled with sheep and goats;
valleys overflow with grain
and echo with joyful songs.
SECOND READING: Romans 8:1-11
If you belong to Christ Jesus, you won’t be punished. 2The Holy Spirit will give you life that comes from Christ Jesus and will set youa free from sin and death. 3The Law of Moses cannot do this, because our selfish desires make the Law weak. But God set you free when he sent his own Son to be like us sinners and to be a sacrifice for our sin. God used Christ’s body to condemn sin. 4He did this, so that we would do what the Law commands by obeying the Spirit instead of our own desires.
5People who are ruled by their desires think only of themselves. Everyone who is ruled by the Holy Spirit thinks about spiritual things. 6If our minds are ruled by our desires, we will die. But if our minds are ruled by the Spirit, we will have life and peace. 7Our desires fight against God, because they do not and cannot obey God’s laws. 8If we follow our desires, we cannot please God.
9You are no longer ruled by your desires, but by God’s Spirit, who lives in you. People who don’t have the Spirit of Christ in them don’t belong to him. 10But Christ lives in you. So you are alive because God has accepted you, even though your bodies must die because of your sins. 11Yet God raised Jesus to life! God’s Spirit now lives in you, and he will raise you to life by his Spirit.
GOSPEL: Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
That same day Jesus left the house and went out beside Lake Galilee, where he sat down to teach. 2Such large crowds gathered around him that he had to sit in a boat, while the people stood on the shore. 3Then he taught them many things by using stories. He said:
A farmer went out to scatter seed in a field. 4While the farmer was scattering the seed, some of it fell along the road and was eaten by birds. 5Other seeds fell on thin, rocky ground and quickly started growing because the soil wasn’t very deep. 6But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched and dried up, because they did not have enough roots. 7Some other seeds fell where thornbushes grew up and choked the plants. 8But a few seeds did fall on good ground where the plants produced a hundred or sixty or thirty times as much as was scattered. 9If you have ears, pay attention!
18Now listen to the meaning of the story about the farmer:
19The seeds that fell along the road are the people who hear the message about the kingdom, but don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches the message from their hearts. 20The seeds that fell on rocky ground are the people who gladly hear the message and accept it right away. 21But they don’t have deep roots, and they don’t last very long. As soon as life gets hard or the message gets them in trouble, they give up.
22The seeds that fell among the thornbushes are also people who hear the message. But they start worrying about the needs of this life and are fooled by the desire to get rich. So the message gets choked out, and they never produce anything. 23The seeds that fell on good ground are the people who hear and understand the message. They produce as much as a hundred or sixty or thirty times what was planted.